An Interview with Ed Nash: Even Toothless She Can Still Bite off a Boy's Head

 

Ed Nash took time to talk to us about his main project "Toothless" and told us about  the inspiration behind the name, the process of making it and how it was like to work with Orlando Weeks from the Maccabees on the artwork for his new EP Palms.

 
Photo by Avery Sassa

Photo by Avery Sassa

 

What was the process like in putting together Palms EP?

I produced and recorded everything on the EP so it was really just me sitting in my studio working on songs until I thought they were ready to be mixed. The EP started its life with me experimenting with sounds and production in the studio so a lot of the sounds are the result of trial and error. Once I was done with all the recording my buddy, Oli, mixed the songs from where he was staying in NY.

What ultimately inspired Toothless and its overall sound?

I want to make music that is accessible first and foremost, all the songs must have some kind of hook whether that be melodic or lyrical. In terms of the sound I guess it's an amalgamation of all the music I listened to while growing up, especially American guitar bands from the 90's.

What was it like working with Orlando Weeks from The Maccabees on the artwork?

An absolute pleasure! I've known Orlando for about 7 years since we went on the NME tour together. Orlando was unbelievably patient with me and we went through about 3 or 4 different cover ideas before ending up with the final cover. 

Is there a certain/hidden meaning behind the EP artwork?

There's no meaning as such (or at least not that I'm aware of), however, having Orlando paint the cover is incredibly significant and fitting for the Toothless project. Both Orlando and I were contemporaries with the bands we played in and are both at points in our life where we are working out what we want to do now that these bands are finished. I'm pursuing making music with Toothless and Orlando is focusing on his painting and artwork.   

What are the main differences between working on Toothless and Bombay Bicycle Club?

I guess the main difference is where all the songwriting and creative drive comes from, with Bombay Bicycle Club all the songs started off with Jack the rest of us would help arrange them into their final form. With Toothless all the ideas and songs come from me!

You've been in a band for quite a while. What differences do you see in the current music landscape than when you first started playing professionally? 

I started playing professionally in 2006 which feels like a very very long time ago! I think the main difference from then is the rise of social media and how ingrained it has become with bands. When we started Bombay there was only really Myspace to deal with whereas now there are 3 or 4 platforms that seem to be crucial for a band's success... I'm not very good at keeping up with social media.  

What song/rendition from Palms EP is your favorite and why?

Probably my cover of Sufjan Stevens' The Dress Looks Nice On You. It's the first recorded cover I have ever done. I loved reinterpreting someone else's work instead of just working with songs that I had written.  

What’s the meaning behind the name Toothless?

It's from a cartoon by the artist Raymond Pettibon which shows a tiger biting the head off a boy captioned by "Even toothless she can still bite off a boy's head". This picture stuck with me over the years as I loved the idea of something being underestimated. I thought it was a fitting name for this project as no one really expects the bass player from a big band to go off and do anything. 

 
Art by Ray Pettibon
 

Lastly, if there's one thing that you want your listeners to take away from your EP and/or The Pace of the Passing, what would it be? 

Hopefully people can appreciate Toothless in its own right not as a side project of Bombay. This is my main thing now and isn't just a vanity project or side project.